July Update 2023
Buenos Dias SE Familia! We did not want to wait until Monday to send this newsletter out because we wanted to share an awesome moment from this week. Yesterday was the first graduation for the ALCS Yamaranguila school we both worked for when we lived in La Esperanza. I (Austin) had the privilege to teach and be the homeroom teacher for the graduating class for three years. Not only was it special to be there and surprise my former students by showing up, but one of those students had lived with us for two years. If you haven't already, meet Juan.
Juan lived with us from 2020 through 2022. Juan comes from a remote village up in the mountains called Opalaca. He has an incredible family and needed a place to live to continue his schooling in Yamaranguila. Juan is what gave us the vision for Sembrando Esperanza. During the first year together, we saw firsthand how mentoring and providing resources impact students with little access. Juan went from celebrating a C- on my math tests (as I was his math teacher) to being bummed he earned an A- instead of an A. The grades were not the only thing we saw change in Juan. More importantly, we saw Juan grow as a person and dream. He began to dream about doing hard things for the first time! In fact, he is the first person in his family and community to complete high school and plan to go to college! Originally, he planned to return home to start his coffee farm (since his family is growing coffee); however, Juan plans on studying agricultural engineering to better help his community of Opalaca and their coffee farms. (He already earned a full scholarship for a university here in Honduras but is waiting to hear back about the one with his major). Juan is the example and inspiration for Sembrando Esperanza. We saw firsthand how providing opportunities and empowering Juan changed the course of his future and his desire to help his community over just himself.
(Juan with Pastor Evelio, the founder of the ALCS school district)
(Juan asked us to be his "testigos" for graduation, a Honduran tradition.) It was an honor to be Juan's testigos for graduation, and it shows how the little we sowed into Juan has multiplied and will continue to multiply. This is why we want to continue to help education here in Honduras: it changes lives. As we look at finding ways to mentor students, we ask that you join alongside in prayer that God uses us to help guide, give wisdom, and provide opportunities. It is hard to summarize our emotions in words. How does one sum up the feeling of seeing the years of sowing and, at times, feelings of inadequacy come to fruition? No words do justice. We praise God for being a part of Juan's story and look forward to God continuing to work through us, SE, and our partners (including you) to impact more students, teachers, and communities. In the last email, we discussed two big goals: a computer lab and a gymnasium roof for the ALCS La Union school. We have learned estimated prices and want you to pray for God to provide and move mountains. Concerning the computer lab, we were talking with one of the school's teachers, and they recommend computer towers and monitors over Chromebooks due to longevity and software they already have. We want to always anything we provide to be sustainable and agree with their recommendation. For 25 computers, towers and monitors, the cost is estimated at $15,000 for everything (towers, monitors, and possibly shipping). We are continuing to talk with the teachers to see what would work best. It is hard to look up prices for that many items here in Honduras without going to the store, so we assume the price could be much lower. Regarding the roof for the gymnasium, it will cost approximately $41,000. This includes restoring the court, a small stage, a seating area, storage, and two bathrooms. The awesome part about this project is that a group of alumni from the school is also fundraising for this. We will partner with them to maximize our connections.
(Current idea of the gymnasium) What can you do? Pray and share. Pray for sponsors, pray that God provides opportunities for Ale and me to meet and share our dream, pray that God works through the students we interact with and that God continues to work through SE to impact communities.
We thank God for each of you and for His working through SE thus far.
Blessings, Alejandra + Austin Empowering to empower.